It’s not true that evergreens never lose their leaves or needles. Anyone who has walked through a pine forest can see the layers of brown needles on the ground that soften their footsteps. It’s just that evergreens don’t lose all their leaves or needles at the same time, as deciduous trees do. But like deciduous trees, they do need care, especially in the winter when the cold and dry air can stress them. Here are some tips for caring for evergreens.
Plant in the Right Spot
Though many types of evergreens seem exceptionally tough and can be seen to thrive in the wilds of Siberia, they’ll do better in your garden if they’re planted in the right place. That would be a spot that is sheltered from the winds of the Colorado winter. This may mean planting them on the north side of your house in well-drained, acidic soil. Another tip is to spray the needles with an anti-desiccant in the autumn, just before winter.
Another thing that helps an evergreen tree withstand winter is mulching. Mulching helps lock moisture into the soil and prevents the tree from losing water. An organic mulch such as shredded bark also adds nutrients as it breaks down. Add it around the drip line, which is just beyond the widest diameter formed by the branches.
Water Well in the Fall
Water the tree regularly during the first year after it’s planted. It should get at least an inch a week. Short, shallow waterings put the tree at risk for winter damage. To help the soil around the tree retain moisture during the winter, water the tree deeply in the autumn before a hard freeze. Soil that’s allowed to dry out completely can sicken or kill the tree.
Be Careful With Fertilizer
Most evergreen trees grow slowly and take up the nutrients they need at their leisure. But if your soil is alkaline, the tree might have trouble taking up nutrients. If the tree looks paler than it should, you can add some nitrogen around the drip line or a slow-acting fertilizer that’s made for evergreens. Avoid adding fertilizer or mulch to the crown of the tree where the trunk meets the roots because that will damage the tree.
Call Roots Up Tree Company
Boulder, Colorado has a wonderful climate for growing evergreen trees, including the Colorado spruce and the Colorado fir. If you need help with your trees, don’t hesitate to call on our arborists at Roots Up Tree Company.